Thursday, December 22, 2016

2016 Review

2016 was a slow year on the gaming front, I'm afraid.  

The first quarter of the year was spent finishing up our 2 year renovation of our house.   As we completed that project, my wife Lisa's knee kept getting worse and worse.

Which leads me to the main item from 2016 - Lisa's total knee replacement surgery in May.  We thought we were prepared, but I don't know that anything could have prepared us for the pain after the surgery and the seemingly endless rehab and strengthening.  Keep in mind, we're both very healthy and fit, working out regularly, so she had great muscle mass to help out to begin with.  However, it was still very difficult for her.   Eventually, after having a manipulation to break loose scar tissue that had formed (how that formed, given the near constant rehab work, is beyond me!), and moving from rehab to strength regaining exercises, she's pretty much pain free.  Now its just stiffness at times, and tightness that we've been told "should" pretty much be gone in another 6 months or so.   I'm very proud of her for all her determination through the process.  It would have been far easier to just quit and live with limitations, but she was driven to get back as much as possible so that she could ride her motorcycle!   We finally got in a couple of rides in October and November, which really helped her morale as she was thrilled to know that she could ride again.

So that brings us to November and December.   I was able to put on 2 game days, with another one planned for the first weekend in the upcoming January.   I was able to put on the first game with my ECW collection, which was really fun - considering I started the painting years....and years....ago.

On the rules front, I have "Nothing Less Than Victory"  (WW2) nearly done, with 90% of the FoB campaign system developed.  I have "Rusty Buckets" developed in my mind, as well as thoughts for air games, finishing up "Give Fire!", and other projects.   While rule writing is a big task, I just can't seem to stop wanting to do more games.  Its a sickness....

I've been able to get back to painting, finishing up some units for my ECW stuff around Thanksgiving, and now turning to the beginnings of my Wars of the Roses collection.  

And of course, there's always the Denver Broncos.  It has been a struggle this season, as injuries and a new QB have provided more challenges than had been anticipated.  Technically, they're still in the hunt for a playoff position, but it really doesn't mean much as this year's team won't be in the playoffs for long even if they make it.   The silver lining is that the probable 3rd place finish in the division means a much easier schedule next year, as well as better draft choices.   Seasons like this really make one appreciate Super Bowl seasons!

I wish all of you well, and a safe and fun holiday season!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Review: Miniature Wargames #404, Wargames Illustrated #350

I've been a subscriber of WI and MW for as long as they've existed.   MW has recently changed, and WI changed a while back.

I was always taught that if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything.

My next blog post will include photos of the WSS game from our session last Saturday.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Give Fire! - First Play of FoB2 ECW Game

The group got together yesterday for two games - first a game of Give Fire!, the mini-supplement for the ECW using the Field of Battle 2nd Edition rules, and then a WSS mega game with over 50 units on the table.   I just discovered that I forgot to take any photos of the WSS game, which is a shame - it was a beautiful game with wonderful figures from the collection of Eric Miller and Greg Cornell.  Loads of Brits, French, Spanish, Danes, and maybe some others I'm forgetting.   I believe that Greg and Eric have photos.  I'll either post a link to a blog with those, or if I get any photos, I'll post a new post with WSS photos.

The ECW game featured two small to moderate sized armies - 8 units of foot, 4 units of horse, and 1 artillery unit each.  

The game played well, with the Royalists winning a close fought battle.  I've made some tweaks to the rules to reflect the period tactics and limitations, and made some more adjustments based on the game play.  It was great to see the ECW armies on the table for the first time!

Some photos:


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Wargame Table Renovation!

In keeping with the theme of house renovation, I just finished completely renovating my wargame table.  My table has a table top a bit over 5' x 9'.  The new table features shaker doors and knobs to match the other new cabinets, as well as eliminating the old caster wheels and replacing them with a sturdy base/toekick.   While I was at it, I also redid the top surface to have it more useful for naval games.

 Original table - note the gold hinges (blch), plain doors (blch) and wheels (blch blch)

Original royal blue tabletop
The project began by stripping off all the original doors and end panels.  The project was fairly depressing at this point!
Table stripped down.
 Structure added to the floor to which the toekick will be attached.

My table is propped up on concrete blocks while the base structure is being completed.  The wheels are gone!  I enjoyed throwing those away...

The toekick structure is completed.

The table is slid up and over onto the toekick structure, and then fastened to the structure with screws.

New cabinet facing, end panels and toekick.  Getting somewhere now!
 The top is repainted in a dark blue.

 Starting to match the idea in my head.

The new tray is attached.

Another shot of the table with the tray attached, as well as the new trim around the tabletop.

Tray with new trim attached.
I went with hidden, soft close hinges.  Sweet!

The new doors, mounted to the table "island".

The shaker effect added with trim to the doors.  The trim was glued and nailed on. 

All the bare boards have been primed.  Note that the ends of the table have faux door panels.

The table complete, with new "water" painted top, finish paint, and new knobs.
Another angle, showing the faux door end panels.

The new top!

The top was done by stippling a mix of medium and lighter blues, some green, some white, etc. with sea sponges.  At this stage in this photo, the top has been sealed with satin polyurethane.  It is still a bit to glossy for my liking, as the top picks up a bit of glare.  I will be putting matte polyurethane on the top at the end of the week.
I'm thrilled with how the table turned out.  It looks like a high end piece of furniture or island.  The new doors are solid and quiet, and the tabletop makes me want to get started painting some ships!   I probably have about 70 hours in the project, which required a tablesaw, power miter saw, drill press, air nailers, plus the odd hand tool here and there.   A lot of work, but I am very glad I did the project.

Friday, October 7, 2016

TobyCon 2016 - First Report!

Well, it actually happened - we finally were able to hold TobyCon.  We tried last year, but consecutive heavy snowfalls kept delaying the event.  Then, I had to get cracking on our home renovation in order to finish off the kitchen and the final details.   I finished all of that work, which took us into spring 2016, when my wife then had knee replacement surgery!   So, after surgery and the rehab and physical therapy work to rebuild strength and range of motion, we are finally here in October 2016!   Almost a year to the day since I was last able to host a game.

TobyCon is named in honor of our Jack Russell terrier, Toby.   He's a ball of fire, and too smart for his own good.   Toby runs herd on everyone when they visit, and I end up holding him through most games as he demands to be up where he can see what is going on.   Jack Russells have an insatiable desire to be involved and in charge.....

The first TobyCon had an ancient theme, with a Roman/Seleucid and a Han/Three Kingdoms Chinese game.  Both games used Pulse of Battle for the rules.

The Han/TKC game was first - a clash between two exotic and colorful armies.   Thanks to Terry Shockey for providing the armies.  Beautifully done, and armies I've never seen in use before.  I'd be lying if I said I remembered the flow of the game, but I believe the Han won the game.

Some photos:

Game 2 as a Seleucid vs. Roman game, planned and created by Eric Miller.  Eric provided the vast majority of the figures (beautifully painted, as usual) while some of mine were pressed into service to flesh out the armies.
 The Roman commander's appear happy....generally.

 While the Seleucid commanders appear confident and jovial

Seleucid commander (all that is left of his command) bravely advancing away from pursuing Roman cavalry.

This was a wild game.  The Romans pounded on the Seleucids for probably 90% of the game, and amassed a huge tally of Army Morale Points as the Seleucids hit 0.  However, the Seleucid right wing finally advanced (opportunity, initiative, and the needed cards!), and started hacking the Roman left wing up in a fierce manner.  Finally, both armies were at 0 AMPS!   Fortunately for the Romans, the Seleucids drew an Army Morale card and failed the test, ending the game.  I don't think I've ever seen a game like this - huge AMP loss swings, with the game ending with both sides at 0 AMPS!

I had great fun, and I'm looking forward to the next game - hopefully in early November.  I'm presently working away on redoing my game table, to get the design aesthetic to more closely match the cabinet style we've used throughout the house (Shaker).  So far so good - but more on that in upcoming posts.